Aryballe, the French “digital olfaction” startup that builds a device that essentially mimics the smelling power of the human nose, announced today that it has raised a €6.2 Million ($7M USD) Series B round of funding led by International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) with participation from Hyundai Motor Company. This brings the total amount raised by Aryballe to €9.3 ($10.43M USD).
The product works by attracting odor molecules into the device’s chamber where they then interact with chemical sensors. The device lights up the prism with an LED light and the device records optical signal transduction and then analyzes the odor signature and matches it against a database in the cloud.
In addition to the investment dollars, establishing the formal relationship with IFF’s massive database of fragrances will help augment Aryballe’s odor identification capabilities, and give IFF access to another application it can provide to its clients.
Applications for Aryballe’s technology include maintaining product consistency for something like coffee roasting — making sure each batch roasted smells the same, or ensuring authenticity of raw materials — or determining whether the vanilla a food maker received is artificial or natural.
Additionally, Aryballe is already talking with appliance manufacturers to place its digital olfaction into things like smart refrigerators and ovens. An embedded e-nose in these appliances could help detect food transformation, so your fridge would be able to smell when an item starts to spoil, or an oven could better know when something is done or burning. The company says we should start to see those Aryballe-enabled devices appear in 2020.
With the new money, Aryballe is looking to miniaturize its technology even further, perhaps embedding its technology into even smaller devices like food storage containers so they can give you a better sense of when your leftovers or fruits are going bad.
Aryballe is among a wave of companies looking to digitize our senses. Computer vision is used extensively in things like cashierless checkout in stores to see what we buy (and charge us automatically). Over this past weekend, IBM unveiled its Hypertaste platform to identify and classify liquids. Heck, Amazon has even applied for patents for its own refrigerator that smells.
While Aryballe is smaller than most of these other players, the relationship with IFF and its accompanying dataset, along with an actual working product, means it could lead the pack by more than an e-nose.